The Happy Place

November 2013

Buddy wrote me a letter. Here is what it said:

Dad,

I never knew you had so many readers, listeners and friends. I can’t believe how many letters and cards you received about me.

Remember every time you laughed at my twitching feet while I was dreaming and wondered where I was? You said I was at my “Happy Place”; that special magical place that we visit in our minds to escape reality or get hypnotized. We go there to relax, feel better and be completely content. I think it’s where I am now. It’s a place called heaven. Tell your readers if they don’t believe in heaven, maybe they could at least agree that it’s a state of joy and happiness, or even a moment in time stood still. 

Let me tell you exactly how it is here: Every day is better than the one before. This morning for breakfast I licked down a few Frosty Paws, tore into some Girl Scout cookies and ate a whole package of filet mignon jerky. Then I ate all the toast crust I could manage before lapping up a large creeme. Remember how much I loved road trips with the music blasting and the wind in my ears?  Today, just like the old days, I stood the whole time with my head out the window. From here on, no more sleeping through everything and missing it all because I’m not tired all the time.  

Here I can shred all the paint rollers I want. The best part is I can sleep in my mess at night because no one comes by to clean it up. I can lick all the plates I wish and eat all the biscuits I want. Peanut butter, tuna and bacon too. Remember that chipmunk I’ve been chasing my whole life and never caught? Yesterday I leaped high over a stone wall and finally got him! Next week I’m trying out for a role in a play. I hope I’m the princess. Tomorrow it’s a drive-in movie. I’ll eat as much popcorn as I can handle. Remember that old lady in the wheelchair that adored me so much at the old people’s home you always made me visit? I just found her and made her smile again. Remember how I always pretended my hearing was ok by barking only when Lulu barked? My hearing is perfect now and I bark whenever I want at whatever I want. And no one tells me to knock it off.

I overheard you tell someone you prepared your mind about what makes sense but you couldn’t prepare your heart. That’s to be expected I guess, so give yourself a break. I know this has been hard on you. I miss you all the time too. But lighten up a little and tell your readers about the time I ran off and got lost inside Bucks Furniture. Or the time I crashed the wedding you were the dj at.

In case you forgot, I know exactly where your “happy place” is. You ought to visit sometime. It’s me shaking fluffy white snowflakes off my back on Christmas Eve and then resting by the wood stove after snowshoeing. It’s laying at your feet by a campfire on a summer night. It’s in your tent during that thunderstorm and under the stars in your kayak when I howled back at the loons to make you laugh. It’s you sipping on a margarita from the bow of our sailboat while we watched the sun set and the stars magically appear one by one at twilight. 

Please thank my girl Charilyn for everything she did for me all those years. She was so gentle. Although she was a real pro at giving me shots, she could use a few lessons from you on how to shove a pill down my throat. Thank her for never leaving my side that day, but more importantly for never leaving yours. And by the way, I have all sixteen years of pictures you took stored in my heart. I see every one each night before I fall asleep.

Also, God says you should stop crying and get another dog. When I got here, I wasn’t sure if dogs were even welcome. God just smiled and said he was lucky to have so many. That must be why he spells his name backwards.  

PS: The world’s oldest dog just arrived here at the age of 26 years and nine months. In human years, God says that’s approximately Liza Minnelli.

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